This is an index of the health notes included in recipes. These short tidbits of information can help answer questions on everything from Omega-3 Fats in fish to whether to cook chicken with the skin on or not. Want to know about garlic and cholesterol? Is it okay to eat eggs or not? It's all here.
In medical school, we learned that when a patient comes in with a "stomach flu" or Montezuma's Revenge, we should ask about whether the patient had been to a picnic or eaten off of a buffet recently. This is because bacteria don't tolerate heat over about 160°F or less than about 38°F. Unfortunately, most people who bring dishes to picnics or pot luck suppers (and many restaurants with buffets) don't think too much about how happy bacteria is between these temperatures--especially at room temperature.
While the temperature plays the key role here, the type of food sitting out is also important. Richer foods that have a more neutral acid content (like mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese sauces, etc.) are good breeding grounds for bacteria. This doesn't mean that you are completely protected by eating the vinaigrette, however.
Any food that might be contaminated before it was cooked is suspect--chicken and eggs are two that the CDC cautions about, but other meats also require care.
Do your friends a favor and take along some ice packs to keep your delicious potato salad as cold as possible. Read More "The Health of It All..." Articles
Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Unfortunately, in this day and age you do have to be very careful when handling eggs, meats, and poultry. The estimates by the CDC of contamination with bacteria are concerning. This is more of a problem with eggs, ground meats and poultry than with steaks, chops, and seafood, but taking care to make sure that you are both handling and cooking meats properly can help you avoid getting sick.